Weekending: Lots more random stuff!

Just because I haven't mentioned football much (at all?) this year doesn't mean I haven't been watching. We have, of course!! And our Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl hopes were dashed in yesterday's playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Boo.

Well, at least the sun is shining today!

I had some new plants delivered on Friday! I started a new plant subscription with Horti and will have a plant delivered every month until I decide not to. (I actually heard about them first on the AARP* website.) Plants can be purchased individually, in sets, or by subscription, along with related items. Mine came with a cute painted clay pot & saucer, soil, and care directions. I can also specify/choose plants for low light, that are hard to kill or are pet-friendly, or let Horti pick.

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Friday was one of the coldest days we've had so far this year, and my Crispy Wave Fern was packed so snug & secure, it did just fine even though no one was there to take it in right away. The tips of maybe two leaves are wilted, but honestly, I really had to look. There are healthy new shoots, and it'll be fun to watch them unfurl. Some of these plants will eventually go into the Airbnb. I have long-term guests there through next month, though, so not yet!

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I also ordered a Marimo Kit -- the small one, but those Marimo are BIG! I will definitely order more -- and get a bigger home for them! They're so cool. They are natural "seaweed balls" that are found in freshwater lakes in Japan, Scotland, Iceland, Estonia, and parts of Australia. I love that I have a connection to a couple of those places.

If you're interested, use my referral link for 10% off your first order (and I'll earn some coin/points, too). 

On Saturday, we ran around and looked at some real estate for sale... because. It's a long story and who knows what, if anything, will happen... just know that I love looking at real estate listings (once thought I might become a REALTOR®)! The only thing new is that I'm doing it with a bit more intention and interest than usual... and even hopping in the car to do a drive-by.

Then I did some of that dreaded bookwork that I need to get done SOON... and I will, as soon as I figure out how to scale the brick wall that I've run up against.

Ali usually spends Sunday mornings at the coffee shop working on special projects. They've been closed on Sundays for months -- and even on Mondays for a while. The current project is Valentines... or anti-Valentines...

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Cooookies

Haha.

I finished weaving in all the ends on my MDK House square and need to figure out how to proceed to make it a pillow.

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Meanwhile, I started mending another elbow. This time, I picked up stitches and knit a patch that I will then sew down. I realized that I could have made some increases so the patch would match the overall sleeve a little better, but... naaaahhhhhhh.

*Even though Kate says that I can't just choose when I want to be a senior citizen... sometimes I do**! Her tongue-in-cheek comment made one day when I pondered whether to use the reserved parking spot at the store (it was cold). In reality, I almost always park quite far from the door -- it's more important to be closer to a cart return!

**I was very excited the first time I could buy a senior ticket at the movies... I'd gladly pay full price & more right now to safely & comfortably sit in a crowded movie theater again! It came up in my memories yesterday that we'd purchased tickets a few years ago for the Best Picture Festival at our local theater, and it made me sad. Will the Oscars even happen?? (They're planning on it... Sunday, April 25th (Maddy's 30th birthday!))

 


Weekending... in New Orleans!

For my birthday, Ann wanted to do some sort of online cooking class together, and we finally found something that would work!

We're going to learn to make Pisco Sour -- the national cocktail of Peru -- from Franco, an award-winning mixologist in Lima. The price includes a kit, delivered by courier, with everything you need... unless you live in Wisconsin, and then you're on your own... and hopeful that you can even find pisco! Haha. Some gift, huh?

Well, a hunting I did go, and I found some! I was advised to look for Peruvian pisco, not Argentinian (they're different), and there were two varieties of Peruvian at my go-to liquor store. Naturally, I bought the more expensive one because it had this cool sticker on the back that you viewed through a window on the front... I'm easily enchanted! I did a little research on the website and found that they actually have four varieties, and their Pisco Sour recipes called for a different variety. Awaiting word from Franco...

Meanwhile, Ann sent me an email from the New Orleans School of Cooking and wondered if there was a class there that I'd be interested in. She & Brian had an in-person class there a year or two ago and really liked it. We talked on Saturday and looked over the choices/calendar together and found a class for Meat Pies & Dirty Rice... on Sunday! So we signed up!

I was positively thrilled when the confirmation email triggered a notification on my TripIt app! I got a little "ding-dong" reminder -- something I haven't heard since March!

The shopping list, recipes, and instructions were sent ahead of time, so on Saturday I went shopping. On Sunday, it was all about chopping and measuring for mise en place.

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This was my set up for the Meat Pies (puff pastry sheets thawing behind me). I had another tray set up with everything for the Dirty Rice, and all the necessary skillets, pots, and bowls were handy.

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I had some technical difficulties, so had the video up on our old laptop but the audio was on my phone (also with video, though, and that was cool because I could see Annie & her set up a little better on my phone while keeping the class feed on the laptop). The last time I used that laptop was for a Zoom class to make my wreath and everything was fine... so I dunno (technology sometimes - ugh!).

The class was 1.5 hours long (we went a few minutes over), limited to 30 participants, and I think we were numbers 26 & 27, so it was pretty full. People from all over, including a group from MN who did it as a Christmas present, which was cool. The instructor was friendly, chatty, knowledgeable, and efficient. Everything was done step-by-step, she gave us options for different ingredients, methods, and presentations.

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We got the Dirty Rice going first. Mine is not technically "dirty," as they didn't have chicken livers at the store so I had to sub a chicken thigh (apparently, it's the organ meat that makes it dirty). It's not very picturesque, but oh my goodness, is it tasty!!

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The meat pies turned out GREAT! I got a dozen out of the recipe. The class was in the afternoon, so Kate & I split a pie and had a little rice when they were super fresh. We all had same for dinner, and Rusty was warming up some rice this morning to have with an egg for breakfast. I can't wait for lunch today... guess what's on the menu!?!!

And next weekend, PISCO SOUR!

 


Weekending

Heh. That was a long one. I can't believe it's been nearly 3 weeks!!

I'm popping in REAL quick to say HI!

There's nothing new for anyone who follows along on FB or IG. More details may be forthcoming in the future but, in short, I tested positive for COVID on the 17th (Kate did, too, and Rusty also had symptoms). I had been feeling a little "iffy" for a few days prior (but with none of the more common/telltale signs: no fever, no loss of taste or smell, and other symptoms developed after-the-fact rather than being a "tell"). Kate told me that my lips were turning a little bit blue on the evening of the 18th... thankfully that turned around! I was super sick/tired/achy all that weekend and early last week, and then sl0wly started to pull out of it with a bit of improvement each day.

A week ago I printed a pattern and gathered some supplies, but it took two days to muster the energy to cast on, and then the floodgate opened...

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A little parade of gnomes has been falling off my needles ever since. I'd knit at least four of these guys a couple of years ago... from Susan B. Anderson's Gnome pattern, recently updated to include mods for a Big Gnome.

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I'm not very good with flipping pages back & forth to incorporate new+old directions, even in the best of times, so two of these gnomes are more medium sized. Heh. I finally notated the original pattern w/changes for the larger size and the one in the middle reflects that a bit more accurately! From left to right, these are for: Davy, Ginny, Malina. And I cast on Junah's while I watched the Packer game last night. They're so cute and fun to knit, with just a little bit of fiddly -- details that really make them shine (IMHO).

I hope you all had a good holiday -- made the best of it. I haven't seen my grandkids in a few weeks and I'm excited for a belated Christmas with them (date still TBD).

Anyway, I'm/we're feeling a little more energetic everyday! Definitely better... and I'm looking forward to putting 2020 in my rear-view.

 


Weekending

I had a couple of kiddos at my house for almost 24 hours and I didn't take a single photo of them. With apologies to Kym, that's unprecedented!

I did take a few photos of some knit Christmas trees. Here's one:

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And since that photo was taken, the "forest" has grown by one! Kate laughed about how she hasn't seen me knit a single stitch on one, they're just "magically appearing." Ginny was playing with them as if they were dolls -- family, actually. The green ones were Mommy & Daddy, this pink one was Ginny, and the other one (a bit smaller, variegated pink & blue) was Malina... there was a request to "make" Junah & Davy ("with a 'bubba'," she laughed). I will certainly do so... they're fun & super quick to knit!

The pattern is Holiday Trees, available at WEBS. I'm knitting mine in Malabrigo Chunky, leftovers from some of Kate's recent projects. I'm not stuffing them in any way, they are sturdy enough to stand on their own, plus I really like the "Suess-y-ness," though I might get styrofoam forms for a couple -- as I was demonstrating/stretching, I really liked how it looked with the garter ridges spread apart.

(Kate, by the way, is knitting up a storm... four or five cowls in recent weeks, and now she's making the headbands that Kym posted the other day.)

I took delivery of some yarn over the weekend, so I'm back to knitting houses.

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Turns out, I wasn't happy with my previous start, so ripped that all out (hence the tree-knitting while awaiting deliveries). This is the "Village" design from MDK Field Guide N0 16: Painterly again, this time in the Rowan Felted Tweed specified in the pattern. Oh my, it's been ages since I knit with Rowan... it is very nice yarn. Heh.

ICYMI (on FB):

Junah negotiating with his sister on Saturday night about what movie to watch:

“...but Ginny, I’ve been wanting to watch that for years!

He’ll be 7 next month. 🤣🤣🥰😂❤️🤣

 


Weekending: Screenshots

Yesterday.

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Sometimes it's good to laugh until you cry!! It's rare that we're all "together" these days, so that was a big bonus.

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The cropped version of this photo was posted on IG yesterday, but I wanted to post it in full glory. The blanket colors are pretty darn true here. The border color reads as just a wee bit more black in person, but it's close. I am CHUFFED to be finished with this phase, and now trying to remember (researching) how to knit on a mitered border... it's been about 10 years since I did that.

 


Wandawega Weekending

Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.

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Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!

Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.

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I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.

Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.

It's rustic...

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It's cool...

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It's peaceful...

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It's adventure-y...

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It's creative & crafty...

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For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."

And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!

It's an event venue (in normal times)...

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Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.

It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.

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And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).

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Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!

It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...

 


Weekending

Our "nature break" this week was going to be at the local nature center that's "right in our own backyard," but instead it turned out to be -- literally -- IN OUR OWN BACKYARD.

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Garden clean-up underway! Truthfully, it was mostly Kate and a little Rusty, with observation by me. It doesn't look like much, but there was a lot of cleaning out. Soon, we'll get some mulch for the path and a few more plants.

I'll also be picking up herb & tomato plants from my CSA  in just about 3 weeks! (I'd better start getting ready.)

I had a few more packets of the stuff, so did a little more Kool-Aid dyeing -- also with a couple new ones that I snagged on our last trip to the store -- and just found a couple more that I'd stashed a long time ago. But I think I'm pretty good with what I've dyed so far. I need to spread everything out and double-check all my colors.

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I joined Mary's Sunday Knitters Zoom Meet-up yesterday and someone sounded the alarm about Kool-Aid dye and colorfastness! After a little research, my method was good/recommended, but as an extra precaution I'm going to pop it all back into a hot citric acid or vinegar bath.

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I finally put stitch markers in to mark the repeats in Romi's Mystery Shawl and, as you might expect, it really helps!! I still have a ways to go before I begin the most recent clue... but I keep plugging away.

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I'm also plugging away at my "practice piece" for Safe At Home. It looks a little scary! A lot of those ends are already woven in and just awaiting trimming -- or maybe just a quick run back in the other direction first. I need to knit roofs and skies, and then a border... and then a back (or maybe that could be fabric). I'm thinking rectangular/bolster pillow... and I'm thinking of one for each of my homies. Heh.

 


Fin de semana -ing

It usually all goes out the window when it matters, but...

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After adding 60 days in a row, maybe something will stick! Yay Duolingo!

On Saturday, I worked on finishing the Alabama Chanin A-line Tunic that I made with fabric from Spoonflower.

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This included learning how to take apart my sewing machine to dislodge stuck fabric. Turns out you're not supposed to "reverse" with a walking foot? I'm sure I did that all the time on my old machine. Hm.

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Ali & I also went for our first pedicures of the season. I'm usually a bit more predictable/traditional with red polish, but this is fun! Ali declared, "That says 'VACATION'!"

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And with that in mind, I cast on a project that's more portable for vacation. This is another Garter Yoke Baby Cardi for a new baby in the KC&T family. Sonny came a little early and spent his first week in the hospital, but he's home now... and I think he needs a sweater for spring! I love my little honeycomb stitch markers (and especially the cork-topped glass vial that they came in) that I got at Wool & Honey last October when I visited Kym in Michigan. I can't exactly remember the yarn right this second, but I realized that I bought the yarn there, too!

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"Finishing" by A-line Tunic had mainly to do with the bottom edge. I didn't necessarily want to hem it, but it needed something. My in-seam pockets are the best I've done, so far, but are still an inch or so too low and I feared that if I actually put something in them, they'd peek out the bottom. I took my cue from an Alabama Chanin Alina tunic that I purchased a while back during a sale.

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Basically, I cut 1.75-inch strips to add to the bottom, turning up the seam and top-stitching it in place. Essentially, it adds about 1.25 inches overall, gives a bit of heft at the hem and just looks more finished.

The sleeves (mine are elbow-length) are finished the same way on the Alina tunic, except it's a narrower strip and lightweight jersey was used there.

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I still want to fell the seams of my A-line Tunic by hand. I did some and then took it out -- running into difficulty around those pockets, where the seam wants to go forward and I want it to go backward. I think I'm just going to have to go with the flow!

Ali & the kiddos came over for a last get-together before departure -- Kate to Scotland on Tuesday, and Rusty & I to Mexico on Wednesday -- and it began with a video chat with Maddy!

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My girls all together at the kitchen table. Heh.

I hope you had a great weekend!

 


Weekending: Sunny Days!

I drove out to Ali's on Friday night to pick up Ginny & Junah for a sleepover! It's pretty much due east through open farm country and it was windy, so there was a lot of blowing snow which made driving... challenging. Saturday was sunny & warm, so it was all-clear by the time I returned them (+ Malina) on Saturday night. Sunday was sunny, too, and warm! Ah.

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Ali & Rod brought Malina over on Saturday morning and after she had a nice nap, we got busy doing all sorts of things, including a trip to the candy store! At Christmas, I'd given the kids (and Mack & Addie, too) certificates for custom chocolate bars -- they can choose Milk, Dark, or a blend of chocolate, up to four ingredients (Crunchies, Dried Fruits, Nuts, or Sweets), and optional spices. I'd planned an outing for all of us in December, but then illness threw a wrench into that!

Anyway, after choices are made, you can watch as they blend it altogether and put it in a mold. The table with the blue springs at top right is a shaker table -- they put the bars on there for a few minutes to get air bubbles out, and then it's popped into a freezer for :10 to set.

(That's a looonnnnng ten minutes when you're 6 and almost-4!)

Junah chose Dark Chocolate + Gummy Bears + Marshmallows + Peppermint Pieces + Sprinkles. Verdict? Too sweet, he said!! Ha. Next time, he'll substitute at least one of those sweets with Potato Chips, Pretzels or Rice Cereal.

Ginny chose Milk Chocolate + M&Ms + Marshmallows + Sour Patch Kids + Vanilla Chips. She did not seem to mind the sweetness! Ali had a taste and was surprised when she bit into Sour Patch Kids!

It'll be fun to do it again this summer when the boys are here.

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I did some knitting over the weekend, finishing the second sleeve and starting on the back. Last night's progress brought me just about to the raglan decreases. The end is in sight, and I'm so looking forward to a finished sweater!

Tonight, I pick up Kate from her trip to Prague!

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I had separate messages from Kate & Annie, both of them telling me about their great travel partner (I already knew that!) and how much fun they had! I can't wait to hear more.

 


(Last) Weekending

I am so happy that we decided not to skip a visit to Biltmore this time! IMHO, it seemed like a hefty admission price -- even without all the optional add-ons (of which we opted for zero) -- but now that I've visited, I can see why. The house is gorgeous and well-cared for -- loved, even. It's off-season, so there were some things happening, such as refinishing of the wood floor in one of the halls, and repairs to the walls. The walls were plastered and stenciled, so there was a craftsman touching up the paint and it was so cool to watch him for a few minutes! Spring is just barely beginning to spring, so there were obvious signs of work being done in the gardens.

Oh, the gardens!

But first...

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Yes, I sprung for the tourist trap photo op!

I took a few photos inside, but honestly, it's difficult to capture -- and, sometimes, I'd just be stunned by what I was seeing that I'd just forget that I even had a camera, or know that I wouldn't be able to capture half (swimming pool, bowling alley, kitchens and store rooms).

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This servant's room, with its sweet "counting sheep" garland at the foot of the bed, certainly caught my eye. It was quite a nice room, too, and the staff was paid very well (New York City wages) back in the day.

I shared an orchid-centric post on IG the other day, so I'll (mostly) spare you those photos here. The Conservatory was...

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...well, it's February and we came from cold snowy Wisconsin...

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...it was so warm and green and colorful! And huge.

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I love that orchids can be so different. That little wisp of a thing was quite small, though not the smallest. It was just something to see, as was that BLACK variety. The orchids were mostly gathered in a specific area. There was another amazing flower at every turn!

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There was also a separate room for cacti and succulents -- a cool variety of size, color, and texture.

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In terms of plant life, there wasn't a whole lot happening in the gardens yet. I was enchanted by the walls with their espalier trees, and was very happy to find blooming hellebores.

The admission price also included trolley transportation to different locations/parking within the estate, and a wine tasting, which we really enjoyed. Overall, I think it would be a very different experience to visit in high summer -- there were definitely people around, but it wasn't crowded in the least and we didn't have to wait for anything.

So, that's pretty much a wrap on our Asheville highlights... except for a word or three about food.

  • We enjoyed lunch at Farm Burger on Saturday, knowing that it would be good because we ate there last time, too!
  • On Saturday night we went to Sierra Nevada Brewing in nearby Mills River (actually, right in between Asheville and our Airbnb)... and I cannot get over it! It wasn't even on our radar, but we saw the sign a few times and it had good reviews when we searched for nearby dinner options (plus, I'm a huge fan of SNB's Hazy Little Thing) (and now I have some swag)! It was enormous, and the drive/entry to the property was amazing (lighting shaped like hops). We had a little bit of a wait, so went upstairs to the "High Gravity" room and enjoyed a beer and some live music. Our dinner was fantastic!! Along with Biltmore, I would definitely visit SNB on another visit to the area!
  • And Ingles. I remembered Ingles from last time... and, I just have to say, what a fantastic "grocery" store. I want one.

I hope you had a great weekend!

 


Weekending

We woke up on Saturday to the stickiest, prettiest snow...

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There was snow stuck to even the itty-bittiest branches. You can usually still see through the trees a little bit, even when it's snowed like this, but in addition to sticky snow there was zero wind... it was magical, and lasted well into the morning.

Saturday was also a full-fledged Pajama Day! I've had one or two "close" ones in recent weeks. Most of those days have been spent sequestered in my workroom/office, getting caught up on books and prepping for tax time. I'm pretty much ready with Ali's stuff -- her tax lady might faint! And I'm taking a full head of steam into our personal stuff... maybe this is the year that I break the cycle of last-minute filing!

Sunday was a bit more... active. I had departing Airbnb guests, so crossed a few things off of that checklist right away in the morning.

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I'd wound up my Bang-out Sweater yarn on Friday, started a sleeve-swatch (I love how it knit up!), and contemplated the knitting ahead. It all clicked on Sunday morning. I frogged my swatch, rewound the ball, and spent a lot of time on Sunday afternoon figuring out the details for the pattern modifications I have in mind. Stay tuned! I'll be casting on again on Saturday -- for real! I'm so excited. It feels like ages since I knit a sweater for myself (though really only a little over a year).

On Sunday night, Ali & I took Junah & Ginny to see Blue Man Group in Appleton.

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Our seats were a little "up there"! And the railing seemed awfully low... I never even thought to check what level those box seats were on. For some reason, I was just thinking they were first floor, but we were on the FOURTH! So, a part of the stage was blocked from our view, but it was very cool to see some elements of the show (especially lights) from on high. I made the mistake of parking in a nearby ramp, and it took over an hour to make our exit... Ali took Junah to the bathroom, and then made another trip with both kids to get some food, and I hadn't moved an inch while she was gone either time. I will never make that mistake again!

 


Weekending: Switching Gears

I couldn't think of any particular day that I'd prefer over another for taking down the tree, and it was really weighing me down, so I just buckled down and did the deed.

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It took forever because, y'know, I just wasn't into it, but the majority got done on Saturday, and we packed up and moved the tree downstairs on Sunday morning. I liked the light from the tree, but I really love the wide open!

I usually leave the stockings up long past Christmas -- Easter is my self-imposed deadline -- because I hand-stitched every one and I like to look at them. This year? Christmas is done, man. I'm over it. It's time to move on!

I'd just seen this outside the back door:

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...and took it as a sign. Kate made this garland of colorful birds for my mom several years ago and I ran across it while packing up and culling (one whole bag to donate) ornaments & decorations. It seemed like just the thing...

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THINKING SPRING!

And speaking of spring/seasons, I've been meaning to share the wonderful gift that I received from Alison -- you can spot it in the photos above.

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She had a local artist do four vignettes of our house -- one for each season -- reminiscent of one of our favorite children's books:

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

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Isn't that fab??? I just love it.

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And then we did some furniture repair! One of the leaves on this rustic old drop-leaf table was split nearly in two, so we glued and clamped (three different types of clamps) and hopefully it'll hold.

 


December Weekending, Part II

One thing I really wanted to do this month, while Maddy was home, was to have some family photos taken -- because she wasn't here for the session last summer.

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I hired Mary, again, to come over and take various group shots, some decorating the tree shots, and some under-the-mistletoe shots. I haven't seen anything official yet, but here's one that I snapped of Ali & her family from the back porch. Junah was MUCH more cooperative than he was last summer.

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My tree is still scarcely decorated because, knowing it would be a little crazy, I put out a selected assortment (of mostly nonbreakable) ornaments for the photo ops.

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We finally remembered that building gingerbread houses and decorating gingerbread houses are two distinctly different things... needing some time in between. I found a really great kit at Target that had four SMALL structures instead of one big house.

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Brilliant on so many levels.

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Only three shown because littlest sis apparently thought it would be fun to see what happened when she flung one across the table. She's so FAST!!

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After photos and decorating -- the tree & gingerbread houses -- it was time to settle in and watch a little football!!

And (now that it's Thursday) that was our weekend.

Crazy week, month, season...

 


December Weekending, Part I

Honestly, with the first & busiest week behind me, I think it's mostly a downhill slide from here until Christmas! That's not to say there isn't anything to do between now and then... there's plenty!

We took the kids to the parade last Tuesday and they had a blast.

Junah's mouth was literally agape a few times, and they collected as much candy as they did on Halloween (if not more).

Kate & I drove down to Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon to collect Maddy & Viv! That was a long day, but totally worth it.

On Thursday, I popped in at Knit Night -- only because I'm the host. I had a particular project that I wanted to finish, which I did, and then took my leave to spend some time at home with the newly landed.

Friday was my company's employee party... and the debut of PARTY PANTS!

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That's a terrible photo -- my bedroom mirror is very old and it doesn't not photograph well. Heh. Anyway, those are my single-layer Alabama Chanin Palazzo Pants, stenciled with a metallic/pearl paint. I'm wearing a shimmery top from H&M, and a cropped J. Jill cardigan that I've had for a while.

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My earrings are handmade by my new custom jeweler: Glass Brick Beadwork. That's Kate's newest (and it's very, very new) endeavour!

Our party began when we all met at an Escape Room. We split into two groups and spent an hour putting our heads together to try and solve clues! It was WAY more fun than I expected -- the room I was in was in the "film noir" genre, a murder mystery whodunnit (SO up my alley), and I was most surprised by a) how quickly an hour went by and b) that there was a second room! We'd barely entered and surveyed the second room when it was over... so, obviously, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade were not being channeled by any of us, but it was a great time! We finished with a nice catered dinner at a local brewery.

Oh, did I mention that we had weekend Airbnb guests for yesterday's football game? Also, that dates changed and signals crossed... and that Maddy & Viv arrived about a week earlier than I initially thought. Long-story-short: When I finally realized (less than two weeks ago) that there was a conflict, I ended up booking an Airbnb for Maddy, Viv, and their friends Katy & Andrés!! (I'm thinking of it now because it happened to be kitty-corner from the brewery where our party was!)

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Our Airbnb guests were among the best we've had... and not just because they brought me a gift from Florida! We've been in pretty close contact from the moment they booked, and I wouldn't be surprised if that continued. It was a pleasure to assist them in fulfilling a dream...

On Saturday, I saw a Facebook ad for the "last estate sale of the year" from a local company and cajoled Kate into coming with me. Oh, what a treat that was... in an early '70s time capsule of a house. Here's Kate in the bathroom:

Seriously, I almost took the same photo. We found a couple of treasures, too!

Stay tuned for December Weekending, Part II!

 


Weekending

It was long and late and the kids got restless, but for the most part, THEY LOVED SWAN LAKE! Ginny fell asleep just minutes before the ballet ended.

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And did swan dances (on tippy-toes) all weekend. Junah seemed very intrigued by the sets, the crossbow, Baron Von Rothbart (who reminded me of a former tenant)... the costumes were incredible! We were in the second and third rows, Right Front Orchestra, so the kids really had a pretty good view. And they would go to a ballet again (Ginny said that she wanted to go "every morning")!

Our high school is doing Peter Pan this year, and we'll go to that for sure!

The kids (and their mama & papa) were over quite a bit this weekend. I had an abundance of celery & leeks from our CSA, so Ali helped me slice & dice and we made a double batch of homemade Cream of Celery Soup. Mmm, it was SO GOOD! The kids even ate it... after some cajoling.  :)

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I'm just waiting for Ginny to decide that she doesn't want her picture taken anymore (like her brother). Malina is wearing a pullover that I made almost 8 years ago! She's the third to wear it and it's held up pretty well, considering that the yarn was fairly inexpensive -- but washable and that's my priority for kid stuff!

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She also modeled some mitts that I made a while back, but I guess I never added them to Ravelry. I'm sure I made them for Junah or Gin...

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I was surprised -- and delighted -- to notice my little "holiday cactus" is all of a sudden loaded with buds! I'm not even sure where this one came from. There's another upstairs that's healthy but there's not even a glimmer of a bud... I'm so excited!

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Especially since it sounds like the scene in this photo will be whitewashed this evening... snow is on the way. yuck.

Four more sleeps and we'll be on our way to Arizona... 80F and sunshine!! I know we'll have to come back, but... lalalalala... I'm not thinking about that right now.


The Weekend!

My girlie took off early Saturday morning for a long road trip.

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She's in Upstate NY now --  not far from Rhinebeck, actually -- and will soon be headed to Brooklyn for the Friday night opening of Paradeisos (art by Yulia Iosilzon, curated by Kate) at Carvalho Park.

After she left, I finished prepping The Artist's Perch for guests arriving later in the day.

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Football fans, y'know.

And after that, it was time to play!! There were a couple of things that I didn't get to when I was in Michigan.

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Rusty helped me set up a work surface and we brought an old desk up from the basement for all the stuff. Next time, I'll arrange this differently... for better flow and in an effort to avoid this:

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The second time in as many weeks that I smashed a jar of paint on a garage floor. The first time it was on Kym's floor, with "white gold" paint... and much less of it. This time it was on mine, with a nearly full 4-oz jar of "black gold." Yep.

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It sure is pretty, though.

My goal was to paint a couple pairs of Palazzo Pants. I wasn't intending to make two pair, but my paint swatching revealed that my initial plan for ochre & navy -- while a gorgeous color combo -- wasn't going to work for me for a number of reasons.

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I decided to make a single-layer pair of PP from the navy blue fabric (which was already cut because... navy & ochre was the plan), painted with a dark-silver color. I am calling these my Holiday Party Pants, because I intend to have them finished for wearing to all (one or two) of the holiday parties I'll be going to this year! Haha. All I need to do is sew the seams and attach the elastic... and they'll be done! If I'm inspired and/or have time, I may do the tiniest bit of embellishment, but I don't have to do a thing if I don't want to.

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The ochre layer, already cut (ahem), were painted with the ill-fated & re-mixed black gold. Those pieces will eventually become a double-layer pair of PP, with ochre on top and black (which needs to be cut) on the bottom, worked in negative reverse applique (in which all of the ochre/top layer, save a 1/8- to 1/4-inch border around each motif, will be cut away).

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I also made another "rag" piece, and used up paint on other pieces/sections -- the silver on black may be used on the Car Jacket project (that's what I had in mind, anyway).

Speaking of the Car Jacket:

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There were a few days in Michigan, and a few since I returned, that I didn't work on it at all; but there were other days when that's all I worked on, so things are progressing. Typepad is being a jerk today, occasionally timing out when I try to load photos, but you can see on IG as well as here (if you look closely) that I tried another new color of floss. I'd ordered both Eggplant and Teal a while back, thinking that they might find a place here. The colors were a little overwhelming, looking at a whole spool of floss, but Kym shared a tip for matching thread to a project that I thought would also apply here, and that is to unwind a bit of the thread so you can better see its true color in relation to the fabric.

 


Weekending: Making Plans

Rusty indulges yet another big idea with a sketch over early morning coffee yesterday.

"Let's make the back porch 'wrap around' again! With a sort of greenhouse/conservatory thing... that has curved windows!"

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Who knows if it will ever happen, but we sure do like to dream and make plans!

I was making other plans over the weekend, too.

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I have a few projects percolating, and I cut out a pair of long Palazzo Pants yesterday.

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Then I started questioning my fabric color choices... that led to painting, stitching, and cutting some small 5-inch swatches. That particular project is still percolating a bit, and I have a couple of other things to try before I make a final decision, but I think I know where it's heading. It's all in the details!

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I've been diligent about #100moredaysknitorious2019 and yesterday's stitching was done while visiting with Ann, even though she was distracted by time and cooking dinner and wasn't working on her project.

In addition to all that, we changed the last of the storms & screens, washed some windows and swept off the back porch, made a pretty great beef stew, and watched a little football! I'm sure there was more mundane stuff (I'm looking at you, Laundry), but those are the highlights. I hope you had a great weekend, too!


Weekending: Hankies

The History of the Handkerchief presentation over the weekend was informal, full of anecdotes and factoids (of the factual type), and made most interesting by audience participation -- personal stories and memories -- and the presentation of several examples (including by one attendee who brought a box full)!

It will not surprise you to know that there have been books written on the subject.

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I did a terrible job of documentation, but was quite taken with the appliqué on the hanky above, and with PANSIES on the "Handkerchief of the Month, As Seen In Vogue." (Though I haven't been actively collecting of late, I am still quite enamored of that flower.)

Years ago, when I managed my mother's antique mall and hankies were, um... let's say... PLENTIFUL in my world, I sewed a bunch to casings and made adorable valances for the Garden Room. Most of them faded terribly after years of eastern & southern exposure, and eventually I had to thank the whole shebang and dispose of it. It lives on in memory as one of the most fitting decorating decisions I ever made. Maybe I'll do it again...

Saturday was a glorious late September day! I met up with Ali after the market and we went to "Nancy's" (my local antique mall) with the kids -- we each found a few things, and Nancy sent us home with a couple of old table-top type games (I'll try to remember to post about them).

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We came home and the discovery of my Longaberger double-pie basket (aka, picnic basket) led to... you guessed it, an impromptu backyard picnic, which the kids pretty much packed for themselves. You might notice walnuts in the grass in both the lower left & right corners of the photo. There were many, many more... and pieces... all which have led me to regret grabbing a WHITE blanket upon which to picnic. Oh well. I haven't laundered it yet...

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We ended up heading down the ravine, which led to the path, which led to the road and the bridge and the river and the old football field and the discovery of a bunch of these wooden dog & swan cut-outs under the bleachers. Familiar with the site, they are most certainly placed on the field to discourage geese.

When we got home from our walk, Junah & Ginny wanted to go for a bike ride and, eventually, we ended up at the skate park. The kids ran around and up and down, they played and made a couple of new friends, and played some more. Jün wasn't too thrilled about having to head home and, just to give you a little inkling of this kid and his strong-willed personality... he threw his bike down and declared that he wasn't going to ride it home. After a little face-off with his mama, he dragged it (crying the whole while)... literally dragged his bicycle on the sidewalk for about half a block. Tiring work, as you might imagine, and it was right about then he also started to complain about the tears all over his face...

Seriously. I don't know how we all hold it together sometimes.


Weekending

The Garden Room menagerie increased by one on Friday -- Miss November joined the chicken, duck, and kangaroo planters! I couldn't resist her.

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They'll soon be displaced by plants. Maybe I'll move them down to the dye studio.

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We had Packers fans in the house over the weekend. I've picked up a few things here and there in preparation for our guests (especially on sale/clearance because NFL licensing is no joke). I even picked up some rain ponchos, and they were needed yesterday! It's a gorgeous day today, though, and our guests are off for a tour of Lambeau Field before heading to Chicago to catch their flight back home to L.A.

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Do not adjust your calendars! It's still September, and the kids had a visit with Santa on Saturday! It was part of a fundraiser for a local guy who goes all-out with his holiday display but needs to relocate it. Junah was totally into it... threw his arm around Santa's neck, and is obviously very animated in the discussion of his wish list.

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We also stopped in at the Fall Market at 313 where I had the incredible good fortune to snap a photo of the girls at the exact right moment -- they last an approximate nano-second! Ali & I both went home with some lovely bouquets, too.

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We were super happy to find a walking leaf-type bug in the back yard!

On Sunday, I puttered... I did some dyeing, finished popping out the cut pieces of my Large Paradise stencil and rolling it up for later, (mostly) reclaiming my worktable, washing some Alabama Chanin cotton jersey yardage and other laundry, chatting with my sis (no stitching with her yesterday, though, but I did fold some laundry), watching the football game, weaving in ends on some cowls, stitching, and ending with the Emmy Awards.

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I started with the patching of a hole on my favorite PJs (very small hole, very large patch!). I continued with the first of the second 100 days of stitching (mostly) on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket... it ended up being a bit of a false start, a half-hour of stitching that came right out. Today will be better!! #100moredaysknitorious2019

Tonight, we'll continue (with last night's episode) of Country Music | A film by Ken Burns on PBS. We are loving it! Neither of us would ordinarily be called "country music fans," but we are truly "fans of music"... all types of music! As with any other genre, there's good and bad, things you like and things you don't, things you listen to more or less... I don't really get it when people say "I hate {fill in the blank} music." It's all so fluid...

I hope you had a great weekend!


Weekending / Macro Monday

Rusty & I went to the Friday night opening of "Surfacing: a contemporary textile exhibition" featuring the work of Wisconsin artists Alison Gates, Patricia Filzen, and Heidi Parkes, curated by Cristian Andersson.

 “Through the historical perspective of craft and ‘women’s work,’ the pieces in the exhibition will at times speaks on feminism, environmentalism, and politics, while at other times pull back remembrances of home, comfort, and familiarity.”

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Alison Gates is a professor of Art and Women's & Gender Studies at UW-Green Bay (also a knitter, among other things). I've known Pat Filzen for many years; she is pictured above wearing a vest made from one of her woven pieces. Heidi Parkes is a Milwaukee-based quilter; I've been following her on IG for quite some time.

I was very excited to learn that Heidi was also presenting an all-day Visible Mending Workshop on Saturday, and was quite possibly the first person to sign up!

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I expected to learn a little... I wasn't expecting to learn A LOT!! It was a great workshop and I'm so happy that I attended.

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This family-favorite Kantha Quilt belongs to Sarah, and was damaged a few years ago by her Husky puppy! The nature of this quilt makes is perfect for "visible mending" and, perhaps it doesn't seem like it would be very difficult... but one of the things we learned with this piece was how to make a repair to something like a quilt when fabric is actually missing (having been chewed). The rest will be all about choosing fabrics (the fun part!) -- though there are also lots and lots of small tears to mend, so hopefully not too tedious.

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This is a repair that Lisa made on her husband's pajama pants. He's an accountant... so this "visible" mend was made... um, with subtlety. From Lisa, I learned about using tiny magnets on my work as a needle keeper!

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Deb bought this antique Double Wedding Ring Quilt at an estate sale, and there are a number of fabrics in various states of... disintegration. (Oh, how I wish I'd taken more photos!) She'd made one little repair in class, a brighter pink square on the left just below center (above a red square and between pink-ish squares on either side). She'd observed the most obvious fabrics needing repair/replacement, but discovered in class that there are many others.

I wish I'd taken photos of the jean jacket that Cristian was repairing... it's his favorite! (Kate's known him for a few years and she knew exactly which jacket I was talking about!) Heidi had previously worked on it for him and, by continuing that work, Cristian was pleased to be making it a collaborative project.

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One of my projects was Kate's laptop case. She bought it from a maker on Etsy several years ago, and would have likely purchased a replacement if he could have been found. It was a great project for class! I repaired two damaged corners, noticing and proactively patching another small tear in the process!

I left the workshop with a start and/or guidance for a couple of other projects that I'd brought... and ideas for several others at home!

Sunday was a bit dreary, but I went downstairs and cleaned up my dye studio a bit and even threw a few hanks into the pot.

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This view is usually full of hydrangeas in the foreground, but they suffered from house painters and electricians over the summer. Storms didn't help, either. Among all the greenery, you might make out a young catalpa tree (the more distant one with huge leaves) missing some branches and listing quite to the left... a big box elder had fallen onto it.

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I first saw this guy when just three legs were visible in the crack between the window and sill. To be honest, I tried to "get" him, but I missed. Then I got busy doing other stuff and he came out... and kept his distance. We'll see how long this "relationship" lasts... I'm not a "spider person" in the least!! That's going to count as my Macro Monday photo because Ali thought it was as big as a tarantula when she saw my photo on IG! (He's sorta big but not THAT big.)

Lastly, it was the 111th anniversary of my maternal grandmother's birth yesterday.

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Marcella -- or Marstella ("Mary of the Stars") (pronounced Mar-SHTEL-la by her German-speaking mother, according to my mother) -- died at age 57, when I was 8. She was into needlework of all types, and I wish she'd lived long enough to have shared that with her... so I could have proudly shown how neat my needlework was on the back! Haha. One of my treasures is an embroidered pillow top that she'd partially completed, and that I eventually mustered the nerve to finish -- it took a few years! I have very few photos of her, but my favorites are the wedding photos. Happy Birthday, Grandma!


Weekending: Mother's Day

Two-thirds of my kids are out of the country, but the remaining one-third and I had a marvelous day!!

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We took a few photos and... Ginny!! That girl pretty much stole the show! Personality is oozing from every pore.

A local floral designer had a pop-up shop at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, so Ginny and I ran up there (so I could buy myself a bouquet), but by the time we got there -- a mere :30 after it started -- all that was left were two bunches of fresh eucalyptus! Obviously, it went over way better than anyone expected.

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I bought the eucalyptus, anyway, and combined it with some bleeding heart and fiddlehead ferns, fresh from my garden, to make bouquets both for me and for the Airbnb guests due later in the day.

After photos, Ali and I walked down to meet our friends for "Momosas" and brunch and, boy, did we have a great time! I can't remember the last time we all got together, and it definitely won't be so long until the next.

On our way back we took a detour for a stop at the antique mall. We ran into a dealer that used to be in my mom's antique mall, who I haven't seen in years. Ali was in late elementary/early middle school when I was managing that mall, but she remembered her, too. It was really fun to catch up!

I continued sewing, trying some new things:

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And started a new knitting project (after a week of virtually no knitting whatsoever):

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I think this yarn will make a fun Entrelac Scarf! It's Melilla by Cascade. Perhaps there will be enough progress to warrant a photo for Unraveled Wednesday!

Our last Airbnb guests had a problem with the lockbox and, in trying to figure it out, I accidentally reset the combo... and it became a big problem for me! I tried cracking the combo a few times, but eventually took my spare key to have a couple of copies made...

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But I continued trying to break in! Adding to my list of talents, and with a bit of help from Rusty in the manufacture of "tools of the trade," I "cracked" it on Saturday afternoon!

I can't believe it's been two months since we were in Spain & England!! I still have to write a couple of posts to wrap that up. Now that everything involved with an overseas traffic/speeding violation has been taken care of, I might be more in the mood...

 


Weekending: Taxing

I "enjoyed" a 3-day weekend, dampened just a bit by the onset of a cold and, of course, income taxes. Whatevs. Three days off = three naps! Taxes are done & dusted; I wasn't in the mood to agonize... it could've been (has been) worse.

We had Airbnb guests arriving on Friday afternoon, so I spent the morning readying.

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A new duvet cover, lightweight cotton blanket, and decorative pillow cover were fun additions to the bedroom. I also added black-out liners to the curtains (after cutting & hemming them).

I also watched the buds on the last (surprise) amaryllis stem begin to open:

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The bottom photo was taken this morning. You can still see a little snow in the back yard and ravine. We were in the middle of a blizzard at this time last year, left to deal with a couple of feet of snow... so I'm not complaining.

Otherwise, I just blew my nose a lot while I did some sewing and knitting.

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I'm getting close to finishing the first sleeve of my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket. There are more photos on IG, if you're interested. And Ginny's Rye socks will be finished as soon as I kitchener the toe.

My energy & enthusiasm are still pretty low. The sun is shining and that helps! Hope you had a great weekend!


Weekending: Productive Procrastination

We went down the hill to 313 Dodge on Friday night for our local going-out version of Friday Night Snacks:

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Janel & Kristin recently changed the menu and I had a gift card that I kept forgetting to use (third time's the charm!). Oh yum. We had/shared the Cheese & Charcuterie Platter, Asian Chicken Meatballs with Pickled Veggies, and Roasted Beet, Pesto & Burrata Salad, along with beverages... and we were too full for dessert! I almost doubled that order of meatballs... I'm glad I didn't because they were huge! Oh darn, dessert might have to be a separate trip sometime.

While procrastinating about finishing our taxes*, I spent the weekend catching on up sleep (also possibly fighting off a cold or something) and long overdue mending & sewing, finishing a baby sweater, putting together a stubborn IKEA bench, shopping & cooking, cleaning/readying the Airbnb apartment, and hanging out with kiddos!

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The kids and I started out riding bikes, but ended up taking a walk down in the woods and on the trail below our house.

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I thought this dead tree looked like a dragon or a gnarly dinosaur.

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And was delighted to find even the smallest promise of spring (as I'm watching sn*w flying around outside my window this very moment) (they say we could be close to 70°F on Sunday - it's spring, indeed)!

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This morning's sunrise was a beauty!

I've been thinking about a 100-day project for a while, stymied a bit at what I'd actually do, but it came to me just as the #The100DayProject came along. Starting tomorrow, I am committing to at least :15 of sewing each day on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket! I'd really like to finish that project... because there are so many more projects that I'd like to sew! I'm looking forward to setting up a dedicated project work space, and getting to work.

*I will get them done... I've never been late nor filed for an extension, and I don't aim to start now.


Weekending: Trial by Fire

...or In Hot Water - NOT!

or... All's Well that Ends Well.

Whew.

Hey Friends! A quick catch up with non-related cute kid pics.

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He looks ready to take on the world!!

Rusty & I went to a closing reception for an art show on Friday evening and, upon our return, discovered that the water wasn't very hot... and a big puddle on the floor around the water heater in the basement.

Fifteen minutes later, our second Airbnb guests arrived!! OMG.

There wasn't much to do but inform them, apologize, and then work at getting it fixed. They were SUPER gracious, insisting that they were here mainly to relax and hang out.

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Sitting on my lap, playing peek-a-book with mumma!

Also, it snowed on Friday night.

So, while Rod came over on Saturday morning to go with me to pick up the water heater I'd purchased on Friday night, Rusty shoveled...

(There was an option for delivery, but the estimated date was March 13th. Hahahahahahaha. Who orders a water heater in advance... just because??)

How gracious were our guests? The guy came out and offered to help get it down the basement!

Rusty & Rod had it in and installed by mid-morning.

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I'm not happy that we had to buy a new water heater right before going on vacation, but I've already come home from a week-long vacation (with three little kids and all the associated laundry) to find that the water heater had given it up while we were gone.

There are two things that I'm happy about. First, it's bigger -- 50-gallon capacity instead of 40. Second, our water pressure seems to have improved. A couple of years ago when they re-did all of our water lines and everything, they guys were all saying how much better our water pressure would be... but there wasn't really any change, until now!

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Kate is leaving tomorrow for an extended time away, starting with a visit to NYC. We'll meet up in a couple of weeks in Spain, but I don't expect to see her home until June or July, or maybe even August! That's going to be so weird.

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So Ali & the kids came over to hang out on Sunday night, bid farewell to their Auntie Kate, and humor their grandmother.

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I love how Ginny's stealing the show!

I am/have been busy getting the books caught up and straightened out for a meeting with Ali's accountant tonight. I was a bit behind, but I'm feeling very good about it all... establishing processes is helpful!

Maddy's taxes are all but finished, too.

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I started ours (the easy stuff), but it looks like I'll be waiting until after vacation to finish. I'll be refreshed & renewed!! Haha.

Our guests loved their stay, even with the water snafu! And our third Airbnb guest arrives this evening for a few days! (This whole thing continues to blow our minds.)

Hope you had a great weekend!!


Weekending: Snow Day!

I'm having a Snow Day today... but not after actually driving to work, doing something for a half-hour to make it worthwhile, and then driving home! We're not getting as much snow as predicted, but it's very windy and that makes driving difficult due to visibility issues.

So, I'm working on a little of this and a little of that (mostly business/tax related stuff), and will also be taking some time for some FUN!

It was all about the movies last week/weekend! Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday; on Wednesday, we watched Roma (10); on Thursday I bought tickets for next month's Best Picture Festival; on Saturday I watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (3), and on Sunday First Reformed (1). Roma won't be shown at BPF because it wasn't a theatrical release, and instead/new we will see the nominees for the Short Films (Live Action & Animated) at the beginning of each day, and I'm excited about that! There is a lot of crossover in nominations, especially when all of the BP films have been nominated in at least five and up to 10 different categories. There are a few biggies, though, that I'm going to need to find/stream somehow: At Eternity's Gate (local boy Willem Dafoe/Lead Actor), The Wife (Glenn Close/Lead Actress), Can You Ever Forgive Me (Melissa McCarthy/Lead Actress and Richard E. Grant/Supporting Actor), and If Beale Street Could Talk (Regina King/Supporting Actress). Without sounding too much like a nut, I'd also like to see Cold War and First Man. There are some other nominated films that I won't see at BPF, haven't already seen, or haven't listed... but arguably, not very many.

Also on Saturday, I visited our brand new LYS! Casting On had their soft opening, which I've been eagerly awaiting since I learned about it on the day my former LYS closed. The owners, Sara & Sam, are super warm & friendly, and I can't wait to watch as they all progress and grow... and Make.Do has been invited to take up some shelf space!

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There's been a bit of a Malabrigo drought around here, though, so I fixed that! Those left two hanks are WASHTED worsted-weight, and I think they'll become a sweater for a certain little granddaughter who will be turning one in < two months! 

There was a little website update over the weekend and an even tinier one this morning with some fresh-from-the-pot yarn:

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Check it out: Make.Do! The yarn in the top photo reminds me of last year's Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, so that's what it's called!

OK. I'm getting back to work on this cold, snowy day...


Weekending: Super Wolf Blood Moon

It was VERY cold (1ºF), but I couldn't help it! That cold temperature meant that the sky was crystal clear... and how often is there a Super Wolf Blood Moon??

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These are not-so-great photos from my phone, but not bad considering... I love the colors of the moon and how it looks sort of painted.

I hope you had a great weekend! Other than having the kids for a while on Saturday afternoon/evening while Kate & Al went on a "sister date," I just sort of plunked along... not quite at 100% yet, but slowly improving. I predict that by the time Friday -- and the start of a 3-day weekend -- rolls around, I'll be feelin' fine.  :)


Weekending: 5

And now he's 5!!

I can hardly believe it...

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He was such a little nugget.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JUNAH!

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There was a little friends & family party... and no shortage of present-opening helpers!

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He decorated his own cake and it was just perfect!

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I'm nearly recovered from the dastardly head cold after a 3-day weekend full of... not much. It was kind of a pain, but I'm thankful it didn't develop into anything more.


Weekending: Random catching up!

OK. This is going to be a super random dump of odds & ends that have been swirling in my brain...

It was kind of a crazy long holiday around here, beginning right after Thanksgiving with Maddy's arrival & Viv's visit. We celebrated, more or less (something/anything/everything), all of December, right through Christmas, and continuing with Ann & family's arrival for a few days just before the end of the year.

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Mack picked up right where he left off last summer... with a baby in his arms! He's so sweet on her. It's adorable!

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We made two visits to a new-to-us and spectacular indoor pool/rec center while Ann was here, once with Ali & the kids, and once with friends (above). Junah's going to be 5 years old in 5 days... and he looks it, doesn't he?!

We played a lot of Bananagrams!

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It sure is a fun game. Maddy called me over to see one particular word she'd made...

All day long on New Year's Day, I was thinking "begin as you mean to go on," but I also just needed to chill, y'know?

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One thing that I did do was the refashioning of a thrift store find -- rescued from the Clearance Rack (at the thrift store, so it was maybe $1.50). I don't know why it was on clearance -- well, actually, yes I do... it had sewn-on ribbing at the hem & cuffs that gathered the fabric and at the wrist and made for a bubble-butt look that wouldn't be flattering on anyone! I really liked the fabric and the size/length and thought for all of one second about whether to buy & re-work it. It took a while, but it was so easy to cut off the ribbing and turn up/sew new hems. I've been wearing it almost everyday since!!

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I was pretty awful with picture-taking over the holidays... the one above isn't even mine (credit to Ali!). It tells the story, though: it was a chaotic & fun holiday season with the very best people. ❤️

Finally, the last wrap-up of 2018, I think... my Top Songs on Spotify. My #1 artist was, again, Gregory Alan Isakov, followed by The National, Amber Run, Lord Huron, and Langhorne Slim; and my favorite subgenre was the rather esoteric "Indie Folk."

They made me a playlist of my Top 100 songs... don't let "indie folk" scare you, it's a crazy fun mix of music! I was playing it yesterday and Katie asked about a few songs she was (surprisingly) unfamiliar with, eventually declaring it a "solid" playlist, which I consider high praise! Haha. Anyway, have a listen... maybe you'll find something new to like, too!


Weekending: Whew!!

I didn't even finish talking about the weekend before last -- Sunday, anyway -- in which I took this:

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...(plus a few more pieces) to THIS:

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It took a lot longer than I'd hoped (I had a LOT more things on my to-do list) (still do), but it's done and I love it!

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Last weekend started on Thursday evening with the first Christmas party of the season with the gang from work, and continued with a company-paid day off on Friday! I needed it, too, since I didn't have a regular day off last week. I did exciting things like get my oil changed & a tire repaired, picked up & dropped off packages at the coffee shop & visited with Ali for a while, went to the grocery store and Target. Woohoo! Those are all things that needed to be done, though, and I basically got paid to do them.

Rusty & I drove over to Two Rivers on Saturday for a meeting/gathering of the local chapter of Wisconsin Visual Artists. They met at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, and had organized an optional printing workshop... for which we both opted in!

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One of my first real jobs was as a typesetter, though I didn't even know that's what I was doing at the time, and it was the very dawn of computer typesetting, so I never actually worked with block letters/art and real leading before. I just flipped switches to get the amount of leading I wanted between lines of type, and actually typed on a keyboard (mostly) instead of plucking individual letters from a type drawer. Either way, what was being produced was not the end-game... it was all destined for the printer! And though I never printed a darn thing in my life, I was in that environment for many years... and, coincidentally, Rusty owned a print shop at one time (long before I met him), and my brother also worked in various print shops for many years.

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So this experience was both very familiar and very new!

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We each had our own little sign press & galley with various tools, some ink & a supply of paper, and a good selection of type and art from which we could choose. I never actually thought about what I'd actually make/print, so I went seasonal first and went from there... here are a few examples of my work:

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OMG. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

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I can't stop thinking about it, so I guess that means that a full-day (at least) workshop is in my future! Time was limited, so I really didn't spend much of it away from my own press, but I did take a peek at Rusty's project:

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Well, he is an artist!

Edited to add: Rusty showing off one of his prints on the Hamilton Wood Type IG feed!

There was inspiration everywhere:

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...including in the bathroom:

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There was an amazing exhibit of Jim Sherraden's work at the museum...

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Including these paper quilts. He's apparently been a visiting artist at Hamilton. I didn't know, until I googled just now, that he's famous! Way cool.

I hope you had a great weekend, too!


5

I am smack dab in the middle of a long weekend, heading to Minneapolis today for the Gregory Alan Isakov concert this evening. We'll hit a couple of museums tomorrow* before heading home.

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I did some dyeing over the weekend... indigo and more! I barely spent two seconds in my basement dye studio over the summer, and it was a year ago that we were getting it all set up... I guess autumn/winter is my time down there!

*I cast my ballot weeks ago so I wouldn't have to worry about making it home in time! Fingers crossed!!


Weekending

I continued to take it as easy as possible over the weekend! My shoulder continues to improve, but man does it ever ache sometimes! I'm amazed at how exhausting it is to be in constant pain and constantly aware of an injury and limitation. It was very helpful to have two days away from my desk/computer. Even though I vary my position... it's really not much of a variance. I sit and (comfortably) hold the mouse this way or that way, keyboard this far away or that far away. Heh. It feels so good to stretch out on the bed with my arm extended on and supported by a pillow, but I can't do that all day long! It's also been quite helpful to have someone willing to massage the area everyday... until today! Rusty's in Door County teaching a class at The Clearing Folk School all week, so I've made an appointment for a pro deep-tissue massage tomorrow evening. That'll be a great segue into my mid-week day off. I'm also hoping for some solid advice from the massage therapist. "Taking it easy" doesn't mean that I have been idle; I've been moving and stretching everyday, pushing but not too hard! Yesterday afternoon, I was able to put my hair in a ponytail without first lifting my arm to support it against a door frame -- with few twinges -- that's progress, and progress that I'd like to continue, and maybe she can help.

I spent a little farmer market time with Malina on Saturday -- at the market, at the nearby antique mall, then at home.

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She's fitting into the Alabama Chanin onesie so nicely right now! It's getting so soft & cozy. She's smooshy & sweet, too!

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We went up to visit Kate when Ali came over. I love how fabulously Kate & Malina coordinate with the porch sofa and with each other -- a study in reverse stockinette!

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This little dumpling is starting to longingly gaze at food... all but reaching out & grabbing some. Getting close though, and with the teeth, too; she gnawed on my thumb for a good 15 minutes yesterday.

We had so many compliments on her little sweater when we were out. I'm excited to finish mine, though the knitting isn't exactly flying off the needles right now. I've been keeping at it as best I can without overdoing it (hopefully). I stopped just shy of binding off my second mitered square last night*, but finished it off this morning, and hope that I can get all the ends woven in and get them soaking yet this evening -- they'll be off to Philly on Tuesday or Wednesday at lastest (one or two days past my personal deadline). I try to vary my position while knitting, too, and take much more frequent breaks that I'm used to. Bleh. 

I spent Sunday afternoon out at Ali's at a little party she had for her employees & families -- but no photos! There were so many kids, including two newborns, and it was just fun to hang out. Ali had some activities, including stringing "O" cereals to make a necklace; the string she had was quite limp, though, and quickly frustrating to try and get it through a tiny sugar-crusted hole. I lamented that I didn't have my tote/knitting with me, but then recalled that I'd long ago stashed a few "emergency knitting notions" in my wallet -- and voila! I came up with the perfect needle to save the day. Ha ha!

*While watching the incredible resurrection of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' second-half comeback to WIN THE GAME 24-23 (down 20-0 at halftime) after Aaron had been injured and carted off the field in the first half!